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Schools as government agencies and outsourcing transportation

Analyze what you think about school districts “outsourcing” transportation services (i.e. bus services) to private companies? It’s a hot topic and we see signs all around the state looking to hire bus drivers. It used to be that all schools districts owned their own buses, hired their own drivers as employees (with benefits including state retirement). Now, however, we see the rise of private firms offering these services at a reduced price to school districts. What do you think? I heard of one local school district (in Buffalo) that saved over $1M a year by outsourcing. Another that outsourced, however, is quite upset because the private company houses the busses 15 miles away from the school (in a different town!). They seem to have a problem being on time. AND, a few years back the location where the buses are parked was hit by a massive snow band. School had to be canceled for days – even though the town the school is located in only got a couple of inches of snow. Ponder this question – what are the pros and cons? Is it all about the money? What type of “standards” would you require if you were to think about outsourcing? Good or bad idea overall? What do you think and why?